“ I love to challenge my body in various competitions. For example, after my diagnosis, I completed a ½ marathon, and a mini triathalon.
Mary Lou Galantino, PT, PhD, MSCE is a very accomplished mAss Kicker with a unique perspective on these diseases. She is currently a Professor of Physical Therapy at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She is also Adjuct Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where she conducts research on integrative medicine and chronic diseases. She has enjoyed a 30 year clinical, research, and training career in physical therapy. Currently she serves as the American Physical Therapy Association – Oncology Section Research Chair. As a Breast Cancer survivor she brings a unique perspective to her research activities. We are very honored that Dr. Galantino was able to spend some time with us.
mK: So, Dr. Galantino, what/when was your diagnosis?
MLG: Breast Cancer, Feb, 2003
mK: How did you find out about your diagnosis? What were your symptoms?
MLG: Found my tumor when I was pregnant with my son Daniel.
mK: What do you do now?
MLG: I’m a Professor of Physical Therapy at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. I’m also a Clinician and Researcher. I was appointed to the State of Delaware Governor’s Task Force for Quality Of Life in cancer survivorship and conduct research with cancer survivors.
mK: Wow! You have a lot on your plate! Who is your hero, who do you look up to?
MLG: Mahatma Gandhi
mK: With so much going on, what motivates you?
MLG: An internal drive to serve others: my children: life itself
mK: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
MLG: Before treatment – In 1979 I went into Guatemala when I was studying in Mexico as a student at Pitt. We were redirected to Mexico because of the guerilla warfare at the time but that did not deter me from exploring the culture and the wonderful people there.
Post-treatment – Take my children into the rainforest of Costa Rica at the ages of 2 and 4. Travel with my children to Poland without knowing the language. Take my daughter to Greece in 2010 and travel the countryside on a train.
mK: What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
MLG: Laugh – great humor
Cry – moments of pure joy
Angry – injustice
mK: When was the first time you felt like yourself after your diagnoses?
MLG: I never really gave up myself during my diagnosis. I did not want to wear a wig – it was the summer and I walked around bald everywhere. It was actually liberating.
mK: Cool! What was the toughest challenge you faced as a survivor?
MLG: Neuropathic Pain. I overcame it with: Yoga, Acupuncture and medication when necessary
mK: What is your guilty pleasure?
MLG: Traveling whenever I have the chance
mK: You seem like a very busy lady. What do you like to do in your spare time?
MLG: Travel, be with my 2 children, Madi 12 and Danny 10
mK: Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
MLG: Permit yourself to be vulnerable, ask for help, be present to each day, love yourself just as you are
mK: Tell us something people probably didn’t know about you… anything.
MLG: I love to challenge my body in various competitions. For example, after my diagnosis, I completed a ½ marathon, and a mini triathalon.
mK: Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
MLG: Thanks for your patience, dedication and commitment to all!
Thanks for spending some time with us Dr. Galantino! Physical rehabilitation after treatment for tumors/cancer definitely needs to be addressed! Through Oncology Physical Rehabilitation, Tumor/Cancer survivors can become Tumor/Cancer “Thrivers”. It will be very interesting to see how things unfold. We think “post treatment oncology physical rehab programs” should begin to develop similar to cardiac rehab programs!